Author Archives: blondiesmart31

The First Dandelion-Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close emerging. Walt Whitman

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A beautiful yellow flower that unfortunately is classified as a weed. It can be eaten in salads or make a delicious wine.

The word dandelion comes from the French “dent de lion” meaning “lions tooth” because of its long, coarse-toothed leaves.

Hearty and remarkably persistent, dandelions remain vital through out the year. It remains the most common and recognizable weed.

So, my lawn will not be perfect-I will not fret about the occasional pop up-I just pick it and stick behind my ear. Be happy!DSCN0626

Propagation

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“Which thou wilt propagate, to have it pressed.”  Shakespeare-Romeo and Juliet.

Today, in our Master Gardener’s class we were outside and learned different ways to extend our plants. We learned different ways to divide or to make new plants from cuttings from the parent stock. Fun.

First picture is a begonia that is to be rooted by a stem with only one leaf. The cup on the right is a coleus leaf that is simply laid on top of the soil, but pressed down so all parts make contact. When it begins to root-it will push the leaf away.

Second DSCN0583DSCN0623picture: mini greenhouses. Simply put into a plastic bag, opening up here and there to allow air in. How cute is that!

SUCCULENTS-“Then I grew up and the beauty of succulent illusions fell away from me” F.Scott Fitzgerald

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I have no idea what that phrase means!

Succulents are sometimes known as fat plants-they have parts that are thick and fleshy in order to retain water in arid climates. Very drought resistant and easy to grow. You can just lay them on soil (mostly the flower ones) and they will root.

Many succulents come from dry areas, such as steppes, semi-desert, and desert. Best known are cacti. Virtually all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

I have two large aloe plants in my house that comes in handy for mild burns (sunburn) or scrapes-a soothing healing ointment by just breaking off a bit of leaf.

Our Botanical Garden here in Huntsville is in the midst of a huge plant sale. Went by the succulent tent and took some pictures that I think are clever.DSCN0572DSCN0571DSCN0575

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“GOD MADE RAINY DAYS SO GARDENERS COULD GET THE HOUSEWORK DONE”-unknown

Hosta collecting is  addicting!  I  received an email on Tuesday  that Carter’s Nursery in Athens was shutting down and  had hostas for $3 a gallon. Never mind that it is raining (I’ve already cleaned my house) I am on my way. So greedy as I was~~~I have been digging and planting all day.

One nice feature about hostas is they get tougher as they mature. I had a guy out last year to weed eat and he was standing in my hosta bed when I looked out. Thankfully they survived. Note to self-make sure you point out your plants from your weeds.

The garden value of hosta plants could be summed up in three words: reliable, useful and foliage. So, what about this shade thing? Shade conditions tend to induce fewer, but larger leaves. Mine are under trees but get filtered afternoon sun. Perfect. It may take some experimental moving before the ideal site is found in which the foliage size, color and variegation are at their best. Also, resist dividing your plants until they are 3 years old. Dividing after they have gotten quite large is they will lose support. Start dividing when the nubs are showing, usually mid March in Alabama.

I usually don’t do anything to my beds but this year I cleaned all the debris out and fertilized, then used a fine mulch. Goodness, I thought they will never come up but they have and are beautiful. I plan to start spraying weekly with Garden-Gro tomato plant food. Try it!

Display your hostas with a Designer’s eye. Plants should look good as a grouping, the colors, textures and forms could be used to compliment each other. And what about a fun element-a statue or something whimsical to add interest.

And finally~~slugs-ugh! It is true that killing slugs is like trying to get rid of wild onions-and I have plenty of both. I would not use slug bait (BAIT-get it?) I don’t want to attract any more. So, before attacking the problem, make sure that whatever method you use is environmentally safe (dogs unfortunately love this stuff) and we sure don’t want to poison our birds. Patience is the key-I look every morning and under flower pots-when I find them I just drop into a container of salt. I am also salting the rocks around my beds and other cracks they can hide in. You will never win the war but a few battles will be worth your time to slow them down.  Persistence-keep at it!

pictures to follow~~~if I’m lucky. 

“GOD MADE RAINY…

“The violet thinks with her timid blue eye, to pass for a blossom enchantingly shy” Frances S. Osgood!

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The April Herb of the Herb Society of America is the violet. Called the “flower of modesty” because it hides its’ flowers in the heart-shaped leaves. A native of the Mediterranean region, the oil is used in the perfume industry.

Yes, it is pretty to see on a green lawn, but it is a weed and spreads rapidly.  KILL IT!

“Parsley-the jewel of herbs, both in the pot and on the plate.” Albert Stockli

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The March herb of the Herb Society of America is parsley. I have been busy cleaning up the garden and working on putting in my Koi pond that I just about let this month get away. Never fear I think-I made a delicious blue cheese herb spread for my Herb Society last evening. It was a hit!

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (I used more and toasted them for more flavor) / 2 tablespoons chopped parsley / 2 tablespoons chopped chives / 1/2 cup of blue cheese crumbles / 1 8 ounce block cream cheese (cold)

Process walnuts, parsley, and chives in food processor until finely chopped. Place herb mixture in small bowl and stir in blue cheese. Set aside. /  Process cold cream cheese until smooth and add herb mix with blue cheese and blend thoroughly. Serve with triscuits or rye cocktail bread. Allrecipes.com

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